Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has taken the college basketball world by storm. He has scored 14 or more points in 13 of Kentucky’s last 15 games, scored 20 or more points in six games on the year, and single-handedly willed the Cats to several victories this year.
Not only has he been one of the top point guards in the SEC, he has established himself as one of the best in all of college basketball.
And no one expected any of it.
Gilgeous-Alexander came to Kentucky as a four-star prospect that many Kentucky fans expected to be here two or three seasons. We heard positive news about him this summer, and many NBA scouts listed him as a sleeper player to watch out for this season, but it was all expected as a role player.
Now, the 6-foot-6 point guard has established himself as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and several beat writers are begging their teams to take a chance on him in June.
One of the main teams? The Charlotte Hornets.
With star guard Kemba Walker being placed on the trading block this past season, there’s a great chance he isn’t part of the franchise’s long-term plans. And the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell is looking for Gilgeous-Alexander to replace him.
There is nothing the Charlotte Hornets need more than a reliable backup/eventual replacement for Kemba Walker at point guard.
That guy is a Canadian, by way of a Chattanooga, Tenn., high school. He has Walker’s ability to get to the rim with ease, and he has something Walker emphatically lacks: Exceptional height and length.
If Kentucky freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is around for the Hornets’ lottery pick in June, grab him.
He’s 6-6 and has a 7-foot wingspan. And the best thing he does is play defense. What’s not to like?
John Calipari has compared SGA to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for his off-court habits and tireless drive to better himself, something the Charlotte franchise would welcome with open arms. If MKG had a jump shot, he’d easily be one of the top players in the NBA right now. Gilgeous-Alexander has a pretty smooth one, among countless other desirable traits.
Calipari has compared Gilgeous-Alexander to one of his all-time favorites, Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, for Gilgeous-Alexander’s work habits. When Kidd-Gilchrist was at Kentucky, he started the “Breakfast Club,” rousting teammates up early to scrimmage and lift weights at sun-up.
“This kid goes at 7 a.m. (And) he also watches tape. He’ll go up and show me turnovers. What he was missing was any kind of skip (pass, finding a teammate beyond the nearest option). He couldn’t see it,” Calipari recalled.
He’s coming to the NBA Draft. If he’s there when the Hornets select, don’t let him slip by.
Could we see a Gilgeous-Alexander, Malik Monk, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist trio in Charlotte next season?